Computer hardware comes in various forms but primarily there are desktop and laptop PCs. However, the hardware doesnâ€™t do very much on its own. In order to be useful, a modern computer needs to run an operating system. This is the software that creates desktops, runs apps and provides general control over the machine.
Usually each computer comes with an operating system pre-installed, although these can be changed quite easily. Choosing an operating system (or â€œOSâ€) is the first technical decision and realistically, you have three main options today.
Apple Mac OS
Adapted by Apple from the older language UNIX, to power their own brand of PC hardware. For decades, Macs represented approximately 10% of personal computers but recently they have become more popular, largely thanks to the success of iOS devices (which run a variant of Mac OS).
Typically Macs were seen as tools for creative like designers, musicians, writers and artists but Macs are highly capable machines for any aspect of computing.
Also adapted from UNIX and available in a mind-blowing number of varieties, Linux is all about freedom. Nobody owns it. Or more accurately, everybody owns it.
What Linux lacks in big-money apps, like Photoshop or Maya, it makes up for with excellent security and adaptability. Linux runs the majority of the worldâ€™s web servers and is at the heart of every Android device. The easiest variety of Linux to begin with is Ubuntu.
â€œOh Ubuntu, you are my favouriteÂ Linux-based operating system!â€
â€“ Sheldon Cooper Ph.D.,Â theoretical physicist.
Linux can be installed on all kinds of devices. Itâ€™s fairly straightforward to replace Windows or Mac OS with Linux. I have the latest Ubuntu running on both former-Mac and former-Windows hardware.
Disney, DreamWorks and Pixar all use Linux to create the graphics in their movies. Its use in mainstream game development is, sadly, minimal but that can certainly change.
This article explains about Linux in Hollywood.
Built on text-based DOS (Disk Operating System), Windows runs on the majority of desktop and laptop computers. The brand is so strong that for a large number of people, â€œPCâ€ actually means â€œWindowsâ€. The popularity of Windows has given it the widest range of professional tools, many of which are industry standard. It is the most commonly used OS in game development.
For example, a developer that registers with Sony to be a PlayStation developer, will get a development kit, which is essentially a heavily customized PlayStation and a Windows-based PC. There isnâ€™t a Mac or Linux version of the kit. The Xbox and Wii dev kits are the same.
Horses for courses
Which of the operating systems you choose is down to personal and practical factors, including the hardware you are developing the game for.
If you want to make games for the big consoles,Â learn to use Windows and program in C.
Expect this to change over the next two decades.
Making a game for PlayStation and making a game for Android are very different tasks. While the overall process is the same, the technical details vary greatly. For your first game, use the computer and software that you have access to. Learn the basics and then get ambitious.
So, to make a game we need a way of giving instructions to the computer. This requires a language.